General Question

augustlan's avatar

Is it appropriate to staple together a two-page resume?

Asked by augustlan (46645 points ) January 13th, 2009

Should I staple the two pages together, or not? Are staples annoying or a necessary evil? Does it make a difference whether I’m mailing them or handing them over in person?

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43 Answers

Grisson's avatar

The first thing that happens to a resume is that it is scanned.
Staples impede that process. Leave the staples out.

Judi's avatar

If you have to have 2 pages staple them. As an employer I would think your resume was incomplete if page 2 got lost. (not all employers scan them. some still have file cabinets.

jrpowell's avatar

Grisson is correct. My sister worked as the HR person at Symantec. A staple is a great way to get it thrown into the trash immediately.

I have asked her about this in the past. Usually when a resume comes in they have to scan/copy it to send out to other people.

A staple wouldn’t be a big deal if you were applying at a small place. Best would be to try and get the resume to fit on one page.

edit : And you should be using a cover letter too. A lot of the resume stuff can be pushed onto that.

shilolo's avatar

One other alternative would be to use a handy paper clip. Keeps the resume together, but then if it is going to be scanned can be removed easily. I agree though that a one page resume might be best, if you can manage it. (Or maybe make a small footer with “Page 1 of 2…Page 2 of 2?)

augustlan's avatar

I do plan to use a cover letter. Try as I might, I just can’t get it down to one page. I’ve even left off my earliest jobs, too! How does anyone of a very mature age (I’m 41) fit it all on one page?!? Perhaps I’ll staple those going to small businesses, and leave them loose for the bigger companies.

Snoopy's avatar

I third the trying to drop it down to a single page.

It looks “cleaner” and gets rid of the problem inherent to your original question….

Obviously this could be done w/ alteration of content, font, spacing, etc.

EDIT Augustlan…sorry….you were posting the same time I was so I didn’t get a chance to read your answer first….

:)

shilolo's avatar

@Snoopy is right. I’m by no means an expert on this (though I’m sure others here are), but a single page resume that has “clean lines” is probably going to be better for you than a more detailed but “difficult-to-get-through” two page resume. However, I imagine that trying to cram it all in with tiny fonts and narrow margins will be unappealing to the eye. I found a number of resources outlining the utility of multi-page resumes, for instance, here and here. Good luck.

augustlan's avatar

According to Shilolo’s links, it is no longer considered necessary to keep it to one page in circumstances like my own. That made me feel better! Thanks, Shi.

funkdaddy's avatar

I’m not “very mature” in age or action but I do have what could be called “varied careers” in my past…

One thing that always helps me keep it to a page is to tailor the resume to the position I’m applying for. Instead of experience, list relevant experience. I just keep a master copy I use as a template. It has all my work history and experience, then edit out the jobs that don’t apply to the position I’m looking at and go from there. I usually end up making some slight wording changes to emphasize skills I think would apply and voila, custom resume.

Good luck LAN…

augustlan's avatar

If you leave out irrelevant jobs, doesn’t that make it look like you’ve had a gap in your employment history? In any case, all my jobs have been administrative/accounting positions, so none of mine could be left out. Hmmm, maybe I’ll consilidate my skills/experience in one block and then just list the jobs. What about references? Second page, or provide upon request?

fireside's avatar

I got hired for my last two jobs with a two page resume.
What I ended up doing was using one page to detail my skills and accomplishments and the other page for the biographical info.

By organizing the skills/accomplishments into three sections (Organizational, Creative and Administrative) I was able to help my employer more easily visualize what kind of worker I would be.

I do agree with shilolo on the paper clip. Buy a box and use them for small and large companies.

edit: use “References available upon request”

Good luck on your search!

tennesseejac's avatar

Handing them in person I would use staples. Mailing them I would not use anything.

Do you have a cover letter and a two page resume?

augustlan's avatar

You guys are being so helpful! Thank you so much :)

augustlan's avatar

@tennesseejac Yes, I’ll have a cover letter and a two page resume.

tennesseejac's avatar

Depending on the job and the point of contact for that particular job I think it’s acceptable to use staples (for all pages submitted). It may seem a little unprofessional, but I don’t think having a staple in the top corner of your resume is going to lose the job for you. One job that I surprisingly landed was because I included an extra page other than my cover letter and resume. It was for a live music promotion company and I added a page that listed my Top 10 concerts and what I would have done to make it a better experience for me as the “average customer”. The guy that hired me said this additional page and the first line of my Cover Letter was why I got a chance at the position.

Mtl_zack's avatar

It should not be 2 pages. If you have too much information, print double sided.

tennesseejac's avatar

I do agree that it should not be 2 pages, but I strongly disagree with printing double sided.

jrpowell's avatar

The “References available upon request” is something I always included. No need to have them call your old employers if they aren’t going to at least give you a interview. It has never been a problem.

wundayatta's avatar

I know the standard wisdom is that it shouldn’t be more than one page long. However, I don’t hold with that view. Remember the point of the resume. It is to give a potential employer an idea of what your interests, skills, and accomplishments are. If you can’t get an employer to read on to the second page, you’re not going to get the job anyway, even if you have a one-pager.

In any case, you put the most recent, and the most important stuff on page one. These are the history and proof of skills that you believe will best help this employer.

A resume is a story. It is your story. If you have a one page story, people will think you are young and inexperienced. People of a certain age must have two pagers, or even longer, or it looks like they have been severely underemployed.

And if you think a two-pager is too long, you should take a look at academia. I’ve seen fifteen and twenty page CVs. They have to list every publication they ever had. Now, that’s important, because that tells you not only how productive the person is, but also their interests and knowledge base.

As to staples and what-not, I have to repeat, it’s worrying about nothing. If what’s on your first page doesn’t hook them, it won’t matter whether folks have to take out a staple, or lose the second page. I think you should do what you’r comfortable with, and it sounds like you want to put a staple in.

I’m just letting you know what my experience has been. I hire two new people every year. I get a lot of resumes, some good, some horrible. I can tell right away who has a chance for the job. I’ve been hiring some extremely talented people, partly, I think, because people who hold this job tend to get much better jobs when they get their degrees. They have a broad range of skills they would not get anywhere else.

Mr_M's avatar

Never print double sided. And remember to put your name on each page.

susanc's avatar

If you use a paper clip, use a terrific one. Normal paper clips say “casual”.

SuperMouse's avatar

Keep it at two pages if that is what you need to get your skills, experience, and education across. The one page resume rule no longer stands. Just be sure to have your name as a heading on the second page. I would not staple the two pages together. If you have to attach them to each other use a paper clip, but don’t paper clip the cover letter.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I can’t believe we’ve had 22 posts about 1 vs 2 page resume, paper clips vs. staples! LOL! I would rather have a paper clip, than a staple for the reasons stated. I would only staple the copies that I’m bringing with me to the interview (we all know to do that even if we’ve mailed or hand delivered resumes, right? )

But since we’re on the subject of resumes, here’s an AWESOME format for Web developer types to use. http://ilovett.com/resume

This guy has managed to incorporate great design, usability, organization, informational anticipation into the functionality of his resume. He has an FAQ to highlight his skills, search feature, and you could save it as a word doc or as a .pdf.

augustlan's avatar

Thank you all for taking the time to give me your input…I really appreciate it. Lurve for everyone!

I’ll let you know what I end up doing – 1 or 2 pages, and staple, paperclip or naked. :)

shadling21's avatar

@susanc – You mean like these?

Judi's avatar

@shadling21 ; those are great! You can find some classy ones at levenger too!

shadling21's avatar

@Judi – Nice! I think I prefer the levenger ones.

I wonder where I can find jellyfish-shaped paper clips?

augustlan's avatar

I love Levenger! One of my favorite places :)

susanc's avatar

@shadling: no! aieee! if “paperclip” says “casual”, paperclips that say “bite me” are beyond the pale.
Those levenger airclips are cool though….

Yes, all of this IS important.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

The best are the corner points. These from Target are pretty cool.

dynamicduo's avatar

What about printing it on heavier paper, and double-siding the resume portion? Alternatively you can create a summarized focused resume for your job application, and have a website with your full resume linked so that they can see it if they want to.

My resume technique has been to include a cover letter, with only the letter on the page, and then a one page resume. I tailor my resume to the position I am applying. So far I’ve only had to remove menial jobs, but if it gets to the point where I’m removing big chunks of time, I’ll probably go the website-resume route.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I like heavier paper resumes. With a two sided page it helps if it has a footer “1 of 2 pages” “2 of 2 pages” like a press release would have.

Mr_M's avatar

I say ABSOLUTELY staple the two pages. Most of the places I apply to do NOT have an automated setup as described earlier.

Jeruba's avatar

Anything can be cut. (Try me!) You don’t have to put everything into the cover letter or the resume, either one. The purpose of the resume is to get you the interview, not to get you the job. Focus on what is most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Also remember that your cover letter and resume may never be seen by a hiring manager if they don’t get past a screener, who is going to look for key words and may even be looking for exact matches to the language in a posted opening.

41 sounds very young to me! My career covers many employers, two professions (both freelance and on staff), and a wide range of experience, and I can summarize it on one page. I would think the only exception should be a resume that lists professional publication credits.

Good luck, Aug!

baseballnut's avatar

I’m the head of HR for a worldwide software company and am part of 3 HR networking/professional associations representing many different industries. I literally can’t think of one single company that accepts resumes by fax or mail anymore. Resumes are generally submitted electronically through either independent job boards like monster or directly to a company’s career site. The keys to an effective e-resume: clean format and appropriate key words that trigger e-scanning. If an applicant submits a resume/app by any means but electronic, we trash it – not to be callous but to enable us to search and collect stats efficiently. Good luck

augustlan's avatar

I wanted to come back and let everyone know that I got it down to one page. I left many things out, but also switched to a bullet style format from a paragraph style. Thanks for all the advice! and keep your fingers crossed for me :)

augustlan's avatar

@baseballnut Around here (smalltown, USA) many companies still request resumes by snail mail.

baseballnut's avatar

You’re right. Sometimes the case

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Isn’t it funny that this question has had 38 reponses? About stapling? It’s a great question!

fireside's avatar

And we never even got into the real fundamentals of the act of stapling.

Do you staple parallel with the top of the page, parallel with the side of the page or do you staple it on a diagonal?

Jeruba's avatar

And do you use colored staples? I do. At the moment the staples in my stapler are purple, but I also have blue, red, green, pink, and yellow.

Also do you set the stapler down and slide the paper into it, do you press down with your palm or punch it with the heel of your hand, and do you smack it hard or gently? OR do you pick it up and squeeze it?

And finally, do you pull the staple out and redo it if you do not like the way it went in, not symmetrical enough or too crooked or too far from the edge?

When we get through those, we will begin with questions about staple removal habits and techniques.

Remember, this is all going into your psychological profile.

augustlan's avatar

I lurve you people :)

kgorgei's avatar

If you notice there are a lot of posts on this subject….use the friggen paper clip. Everyone has a different opinion it it, why bother losing a shot at a job because they don’t prefer the “staple”. Paperclip all pertinant papers together. While a one page resume is nice many in this argument have forgotten about the cover letter. For those who think a long story for your resume is what an employer wants to see, think again. Your resume is a glipse into what you’ve done. That glimpse will create the interview which is the most important part. Good luck to all, and again…just paperclip it and then you won’t have to worry!

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